Even when Malawians are yet to recover from losing the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) due to unbridled political interference and Cash-gate; the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has now turned on government ministries and departments, directing them to conduct business with Galaxy Broadcasting Company owned by the President Mutharika family and a mouth-piece of the DPP.
Galaxy FM was launched in 2012 and counts among its directors Duwa and Madalitso Mutharika, daughter and son, respectively, of former president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, who is brother to the incumbent
“This communications serves to plead with your department to make good relations where necessary with Galaxy FM,” is the thinly veiled decree issued via a memo from Presidential Press Secretary, Gerald Viola, on July 13, 2015 to various heads of government departments.
“The radio station would like to get adverts from you whenever you feel advertising some of your products,” explains the Presidential Press Secretary, to drive the message home.
As Nyasa Times went online, Viola, confirmed he wrote the memo “after being approached by Galaxy FM representatives ” who told me the company was struggling and needed to be rescued.
Viola, a former employee of the same Galaxy FM, rose to fame on the back of the Cash-gate scandal when he named and shamed companies and individuals rumoured to have benefitted from the Joyce Banda administration phase of the financial scandal.
His appointment was interpreted in some quarters as a reward for the “brilliant work” he did marketing the DPP and decampaigning the Peoples Party (PP) led government of Banda.
Commenting on the memo, South African based academic and law expert Prof Danwood Chirwa described it as “blatant corruption and a clear case of abuse of office and state resources.”
As can be seen from the handwritten note on the memo, the communication has not been taken lightly by heads of government departments. Public relations officers have already been “encouraged” to “see to it” that Galaxy FM gets business.
All this is happening when Malawi is undergoing a turbulent economic phase, manifesting itself through people dying of curable diseases in hospitals due to lack of medicines and with teachers getting paid on the ‘sixtieth’ of the month becoming the norm.